Carolina: Cruising Past 70

Friday, October 9, 2020


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There are a lot of things I am particularly crazy about—cooking, dancing, singing, grandkids, plants, word games, poker, and mahjongbut it was two other things, travel and writing, that led me to publish my first book, Carolina: Cruising to an American Dream, a travel diary about our cruising in an RV across North America for five years. Very soon, its sequel will be with you.

How This Second Book Almost Did Not Happen, Got Started, and Was Completed

In 2004 when I migrated and retired in America, all of 101 pounds after burning out from a jet-setting business life in Manila, I wanted time to “cook a little, teach a little, travel a little, write a little, and love a little.” And I did. In fact, my husband wholeheartedly supported my first book but this time around, he complained that I had forgotten about that operative term, “a little.” 

Besides, I had reduced my cooking to only once a day, dropped teaching completely, and we have reduced our travel months to about six in a year.  Furthermore, I reasoned that it may be stressful to publish a book but I have “crazes” that relax me. Besides, if there is one thing I hate, it is boredom. I warned him that he would not like a bored Carol. And the stress of writing another book is not like the one that led me to retire early. It’s the one that leads to fulfillment. I think that’s called positive stress.

When we approached the seventies, we moved beyond fulltime RVing and settled in a Phoenix home. I also rebranded the blog that I casually started in 2010 to “Cruising Past 70,” shifting to writing also about inner journeys rather than just the outer ones. Last year, just as I did for my first book, I compiled some of the posts I had written from the time I finished the first book in 2015.  

This time, however, I became more selective. I included only those that elicited at least 1,000 views (some had more than 30,000). They were the best-loved and most widely-read posts because they were an excellent invitation to visit a place, answered a reader’s question(s), or inspired a new pathway(s). I thought that many of them would be good to share with those of you who have been retired, just retired, or are thinking of retiring. Despite my husband’s objection, I proceeded with the writing of the second book.

Unfortunately, a macular hole developed in my right eye in September of last year. After the vitrectomy, the recovery happened very slowly. Months later, my vision stabilized somewhat. But my eyes were no longer the same. I couldn’t finish the book I had intended to publish before the end of 2019. I needed a lot more time.

This year coronavirus upended all our lives. In fact, we had to cut short our Mexican vacation in March when coronavirus was declared a pandemic. After the self-quarantining for fourteen days and observing the state-mandated lockdown, we canceled all our scheduled trips from April to June. If there was one good thing the Covid-19 lockdown did for me, it was to give me all the time I needed to complete the first draft. I was also able to ask six friends to read it and give me the feedback I needed to refine the draft and complete the book in the following three months. 

What You Can Expect from this New Book

The book contains not only the most widely-read and best-loved blog posts. I have also added six of my original twenty-three articles published by the travel magazine I write for bimonthly, After updating and polishing each one, I have arranged them into the following three themes of inner journeys: lessons learned, changes made, and insights gained.

Part 1 consists of the general life lessons we learned from RVing, the preferred mode of travel nowadays. There are chapters on how to travel light, utilize technology, or discover campgrounds. I have included pieces that will give readers unique ideas for itineraries like visiting great inspiring institutions, completing a historical picture across the vast land, chillaxing in the home that the RV has become and searching for the beauty of the country. There are also tips about healthcare and other RVing concerns.

Part 2 describes how travel transformed me. My calling card bearing President/CEO now reads Wanderer, Writer, Wife. I hinted about this in my first book but I have added transformations such as becoming a Filipino-American, a better mother, a happy grandmother, and including the inescapable direction towards becoming a "global citizen" by adopting a third home and loving the countries where my children live.

Part 3 zeroes in on insights about travelers’ concerns that I have encountered on the road. There are chapters on the attitude, flexibility, curiosity, and courage we travelers should have. Some focus on how to deal with travel mishaps or falling ill. There is a reflection on the better travel buddy, the choice between brand new or old favorite destinations, and the folly of breaking rules. Others talk about the season and time to travel, meeting beautiful people, finding good food, and keeping fit. I have even included new ways of traveling during the time of Covid-19.

How relevant for these times this book has become! Now that we are not able to travel as much as we want, blending our outer journeys with the inner journeys that come as a result of them should better feed our wanderlust. This is how, even if we are forced to travel less, especially as we advance in years, our lives become enriched. That's when we see the benefits of travel that are deep and long-lasting. They are the lessons learned, changes made, and insights gained. 

SCOOP! You're one of the first to know. Amazon just approved my book for preorder at $1.99. It will be released on Nov. 28 at $2.99. ONE CLICK TO THE AMAZON PAGE 



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